Monday, 27th January 2020  
“European Solidarity for 2020”
Eastern European Member States present results inferior to EU mean value in life expectancy and health data evaluation. Not only curative care is necessary to improve and to reach international standards, but preventive medicine, population information, and patient orientation are necessary for a global performance. EU solidarity, a key word, requires new paradigms.
First, breaking payment silos currently limiting the coordination of actors, we must propose initiatives able to assess global performance. Second, developing preventive medicine, health education and cooperation with primary care and with all the professionals involved in this challenge. Third, contributing to sustainability by offering relevant cost-effective solutions. As private providers, we are engaged to demonstrate positive and efficient management.
Solidarity in the EU requires to diffuse best practices and to base solutions according to HTA, as recently reiterated by the Croatian Health Minister currently in charge of the European Presidency. UEHP welcomes the new year and extends its best wishes for all European citizens well-being.
Dr Paul Garassus
President of UEHP
SHAM Workshop on Hospital Risk Management
Creating a community of experts in Europe and improving patient safety
On 22 January, the European Union of Private Hospitals organised a workshop on Hospital Risk Management, in close partnership with Relyens-SHAM, Hospital Mutual Insurance Company, European leader in hospital risk.
In a context of multi-factor transition faced by European healthcare systems, a new set of complexities arises: new technology implementation, relationship with patients, social networks, regulation according to national laws and European directives. Those factors are changing equilibrium with potential underlying risks going beyond current resilience. Risk Management offers levers to secure and optimize operations, with the need for an innovative approach to adapt to emerging and evolving risk profiles.
In this context, and following up on the first edition organised in November 2018, UEHP and SHAM teamed up to organise an interactive working session on innovation in hospital risk management in Brussels, at the hearth of the EU. During this one day session, participants could benefit from a selective panel of experts and counterparts to foster active contribution, interactivity, mutual thinking and share lessons learnt from various experience and concrete actions from all over Europe. The workshop offered a platform to discuss on the latest trends on Risk management, as well as to network with top European Executives and Risk Managers and discuss about experiences, problems and best practices.
We had an intensive full day working session with participants coming from 7 different European countries and experts from the leading European hospitals groups sharing their knowledge on how Risk Management is evolving.
The morning session was dedicated to Germany, with a focus on the approach and methodologies from two of the main hospitals groups in Germany, Sana Kiniken and Asklepios Kliniken.
The second part of the morning was dedicated to the Roundtable “Crossing the bridge from theory to practice: what works (…and not)”, where panellists coming from the leading hospitals groups from Italy (Humanitas San Pio X, Gruppo San Donato), France (Ramsay Santé) and Spain (Quironsalud) shared their experiences on mitigating and preventing clinical risk.
The afternoon session was dedicated to two inspiring presentations, on the new borders of Risk management and to cybersecurity trends in healthcare.
After that the participants split into three different groups to take part to three different thematic workshop on
  • Healthcare Associated infections – what are the main triggers of event prevention? What strategies to put in place?
  • The Healthcare professional crisis – how to deal with the current crisis?
  • Use of healthcare data to reduce risk – which data to be leveraged in order to improve its risk diagnosis?
Both UEHP and SHAM teams wish to deeply thank all participants and speakers for their valuable contributions. We will build on the outcomes of this workshop and keep sharing knowledge and possible solutions to prevent and mitigate risks and keep ensuring the best quality and safety of treatments to all patients.
The Croatian Presidency of the Council: programme and priorities
On 1st January 2020, Croatia took over the Presidency of the Council of the EU for the very first time since 2013 when the country joined the EU.
Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković presented the priorities of the rotating Council presidency for the next six months, at a conference entitled ‘A strong Europe in a world of challenges’, held on 30 October 2019 in the National and University Library, the central venue of the Croatian Presidency of the Council of the European Union.
Based on Croatian national priorities and in line with the EU Strategic Agenda 2019-2024 and drawing on the Trio Programme, the Croatian presidency’s programme focusses on four main priorities: a Europe that is developing, a Europe that connects, a Europe that protects, and an influential Europe.
The topics the Croatian presidency will deal with Brexit and the EU's long-term budget, the Multiannual Financial Framework for 2021-2027. The Croatian Presidency has declared its commitment to strengthening the European Pillar of Social Rights, to ensure that all EU citizens have access to a wide range of rights, including health care, fair working conditions and pay, lifelong learning and a good work-life balance.
Croatia took over this duty from Finland on 1 January and will hand it over to Germany on 1 July.
Full programme available here
The European Green Deal: financing the green transition in Europe
On 11 December 2019, the European Commission presented the European Green Deal, with the ambition of becoming the first climate-neutral region in the world by 2050.
Reaching the current 2030 climate and energy targets will require additional investments of €260 billion a year by 2030.
The European Green Deal is not only making Europe climate-neutral and protecting our natural habitat but also improving the well-being of people, reducing inequalities and leaving no one behind, with a focus on the following policy areas:
  • Clean energy
    Opportunities for alternative, cleaner sources of energy
  • Sustainable industry
    Ways to ensure more sustainable, more environmentally-respectful production cycles
  • Building and renovating
    The need for a cleaner construction sector
  • Sustainable mobility
    Promoting more sustainable means of transport
  • Biodiversity
    Measures to protect our fragile ecosystem
  • From Farm to Fork
    Ways to ensure more sustainable food systems
  • Eliminating pollution
    Measures to cut pollution rapidly and efficiently
The Commission will propose a European Climate Law turning the political commitment into a legal obligation. In fact, the success of the European Green Deal Investment Plan will depend on the engagement of all actors involved and it is crucial that Member States and the European Parliament maintain the high ambition of the Commission proposal during the negotiations on the upcoming financial framework.
On 14 January the Commission presented two instruments which will mobilise investments from both the EU and the national public sector, as well as the private sector: The European Green Deal's Investment Plan and The Just Transition Mechanism.
The European Green Deal Investment Plan is based on three dimensions:
  • Financing: mobilising at least €1 trillion of sustainable investments over the next decade (with a key role to be played by the European Investment Bank).
  • Enabling: providing incentives to unlock and redirect public and private investment. The EU will provide tools for investors by putting sustainable finance at the heart of the financial system, and will facilitate sustainable investment by public authorities by encouraging green budgeting and procurement, and by designing ways to facilitate procedures to approve State Aid for just transition regions.
  • Practical support: the Commission will provide support to public authorities and project promoters in planning, designing and executing sustainable projects.
The Just Transition Mechanism (JTM) is a key tool to ensure that the transition towards a climate-neutral economy happens in a fair way, leaving no one behind. While all regions will require funding and the European Green Deal Investment Plan caters for that, the Mechanism provides targeted support to help mobilise at least €100 billion over the period 2021-2027 in the most affected regions, to alleviate the socio-economic impact of the transition. The Mechanism will create the necessary investment to help workers and communities which rely on the fossil fuel value chain. It will come in addition to the substantial contribution of the EU's budget through all instruments directly relevant to the transition.
The Commission will closely monitor and evaluate the progress on this transition path.
Toolbox for Cross-Border Healthcare
The European Commission published a toolbox intended to help both National Contact Points and patients in getting to grips with their rights under the Cross-border Healthcare Directive:
The toolbox, comprising checklists, templates, manuals and FAQs, is available in all European languages.
AMEOS Group - donate for a good cause
As each year at Christmas, the AMEOS Group donated to Médecins Sans Frontières to support people in need worldwide. Dr Axel Paeger, CEO of the AMEOS Group and Chairman of the Board of Directors, handed over the donation cheque for 5,000 Swiss francs to Bertrand Michels, Philanthrophy Advisor of MSF, on Monday 16 December 2019.
From l. to r. : Dr Axel Paeger, Bertrand Michels
Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is a private organisation with an international focus consisting of doctors and nurses as well as representatives of numerous other professions.
During the whole year, the AMEOS Group also provides financial support to other institutions.
Societal Observatory Viavoice/FHP
83% of French people trust private clinics.
The third edition of the FHP-Viavoice Societal Observatory* shows that in a societal context of widespread mistrust, health actors occupy the first places of trust, seen as defenders of the general interest. The rating is particularly high for healthcare professionals (91%), private hospitals and clinics (83%) and public hospitals (82%).
73% of French people say they are "pessimistic" about the evolution of the health system, and 62% are rather pessimistic about how they will be treated in the future. There are three main reasons for this pessimism: the observation that health professionals are suffering (61%), the persistence of "medical deserts" (59%), and the inadequacy of the financial resources allocated to the health system (57%).
To remedy this situation, 88% of French people consider as a priority that the public authorities should "provide more support to health professionals and health establishments of all statuses". They attach a great deal of importance to the notion of proximity, and believe that more "freedom of action and initiative" should be given to those who provide care in the field (85%). In this context, for 67% of French people, private hospitalisation is a legitimate way of ensuring the sustainability of the health system and the balance in the provision of care. (December 2019)
* Opinion survey conducted by ViaVoice for the French Federation Private Hospitals (FHP), online, from 19 to 25 September 2019, among a sample of 1,000 people, representative of the French population aged 18 and over.
APHP in the leadership of Medical Tourism in Portugal
The Portuguese Association of Private Hospitals (APHP), Health Cluster Portugal (HCP) and the public agencies Turismo de Portugal (the national tourist Board) and the Portuguese Trade & Investment Agency (AICEP) signed, on 18 December, a protocol of Cooperation to internationally promote medical tourism in Portugal.
The ceremony was chaired by the Minister of State, Economy and Digital Transition, Pedro Siza Vieira, with the presence of the Secretary of State for Tourism, the Secretary of State for Internationalization and the Deputy Minister of Health.
From l. to r. : Oscar Gaspar President of the Portuguese Association of Private Hospitals (APHP), Luís Araújo President of the Portuguese National Tourism Authority, Luís Henriques Chairman of AICEP, Salvador de Mello Chairman of Health Cluster Portugal (HCP)
The subscribing entities signed this Protocol to achieve a more effective management of the external promotion of Medical Tourism in Portugal. The ability to care for tourists already existed, but this activity vector has now become a national strategy. The synergies between the four entities, with the institutional support of various State agencies, favour the formation of a differentiating identity of the Portuguese offer and of a clearer and reinforced governance.
“More economy in health, more health in the economy” is the challenge of those who want to be even more competitive and efficient, who want to put their resources and skills towards an even more qualified healthcare offer.
It is an honour for APHP to have actively taken part in the genesis of the Medical Tourism Protocol, directly representing private hospitals but also institutionally representing Healthcare at the highest level.
Private Hospitals Trophies 2019
The French Federation of Private Hospitals (FHP) presented its annual Trophies on 11 December 2019, which reward outstanding initiatives implemented by private clinics and hospitals. The rehabilitation clinic La Lovière won the first prize among the 5 finalists, for its "escape game", "Find the ghost of La Lovière!"
The La Lovière clinic is a rehabilitation establishment specialized in locomotor therapy and neurorehabilitation. This initiative is part of therapeutic activities offered to patients.
The goal of this game is to find the identity of the ghost by progressing within the clinic, thanks to various enigmas and challenges: charades, word puzzles, archery, mental calculation, infernal circuit, puzzle, blind search, ring throwing, reading of plans. The clinic is transformed into a large playground. The introduction of a "game" aspect during a therapeutic activity has demonstrated a greater involvement of patients. The "escape game" concept makes it possible to propose a global, fun and collective therapeutic activity.
The different sessions proposed throughout the circuit call upon a wide range of functions: executive (orientation, reasoning, praxis...), upper and lower limb motor skills (movement, transfer, balance, throwing, fine grasping, hand-eye coordination, dexterity...), sensitive (superficial and deep sensitivity stimulation). This escape game also allows to multiply the social interactions thanks to the constitution of teams.
Participation is on a voluntary basis and is open to all patients and their families. However, the escape game is proposed to patients whose rehabilitation therapists think it could help them and facilitate their therapeutic progression. Each escape game session can accommodate 3 teams of 5/6 patients/families; although it is possible to set up more teams depending on the number of professionals available and/or the size of the premises. One session is organized each month.
APHP criticizes report on Health in the European Union
Following the presentation of the report “The State of Health in the EU”, which portrays the health system profile of each Member State, the Portuguese Association of Private Hospitals (APHP) sent a letter to the European Commission Representation in Portugal to criticize the analysis, which in APHP´s view is unjustifiably, carried out almost exclusively on the public component of health systems, in a context where, throughout Europe, there is a growing contribution of the private hospital sector.
For APHP, the annual publication of this Report is an important time to assess the state of health systems in Europe, but in view of its relevance, APHP recommends that, in the future, this type of publication should not discriminate against the private hospital sector, «which has been gaining trust from citizens, investing and differentiating itself and as such has become a reference partner in the health system»
Sana Klinikum Hof - Give the day more joy of life
Animal-assisted therapy in palliative medicine
From left. Birgit Cronenberg, Dr. Silke Pietsch, Anna Grimm und therapy-dog Frieda
Actually, Anna-Maria Grimm, patient of the palliative ward at the Sana Klinikum Hof, thought that she didn't have much time left. She was admitted to the clinic with an unclear abdominal swelling and two tumors were diagnosed. "My stomach hurt a lot, I just wanted to fall asleep." She didn't want to be examined any more and actually didn't want to talk much. "It is often difficult to find access to patients who are in a hopeless situation. A great deal of sensitivity is required here - especially when you know that an examination and appropriate treatments can improve the patients' quality of life," says Dr. Silke Pietsch, Head of the Palliative Ward Section. Together with therapist Birgit Cronenberg, she approached the patient in a new way.
The 80-year-old was lying in her patient room when the door opened, Birgit Cronenberg came in and put a white blanket in one corner of the room. I thought: What's the matter - is she bringing a baby with her today? says the elderly lady. But no, far from it. "Suddenly, Frieda padded into the room on velvety-soft big paws. She came to my bed, looked at me from her warm dark brown eyes - and already it had happened to me." Anna-Maria Grimm, who was otherwise afraid of dogs, could hardly believe it. With shining eyes and a blissful smile on her face she says: "It was love at first sight, like with my husband 52 years ago in the ballroom."
Frieda, the two-year-old Goldendoodle dog lady, has been coming to the palliative care unit every Tuesday since the end of last year. She looks like a cuddly white cloud sheep, lying well-behaved on her blanket. She doesn't make contact until Birgit Cronenberg allows her to. Animal-assisted therapy is a complementary treatment method that focuses on the psychological effect. It essentially aims at the quality of life of people with severely restrictive and distressing symptoms. In general, it aims to improve well-being, reduce pain and anxiety and promote communication. "Animal-assisted therapy offers patients the opportunity to experience appreciation and self-efficacy within a protected framework," reports Birgit Cronenberg. The trained psychologist appreciates the dog’s presence - it creates a relaxed and soothing atmosphere. "One gets into conversation about the dog, uncovers resources and can activate them. It serves, so to speak, as a mediating medium between the patient and the psychologist - the relatives can also be more easily integrated into the course of the illness."
As far as hygiene is concerned, there is nothing to worry about - Frieda is vaccinated and is only allowed to enter the palliative ward via the terrace. The animal-supported therapy in the palliative medical context stands under the central idea of the hospice idea: "It is not a question of giving to the life more days, but of giving to the days more life." (Cicely Saunders).
Section head Dr. Pietsch is very grateful for the new therapy offer that benefits her patients. "We see our palliative ward as a place to live. We treat patients with incurable, life-threatening diseases that have a severe burden of symptoms. In our holistic work it is important to us to alleviate complaints and problems and to improve the quality of life." This also includes supporting people in dealing with the changed life situation. "Our goal is to allow our patients to return to their home environment whenever possible. However, the ward is also a place where dying is permitted when the time has come."
In the case of Anna-Maria Grimm, the encounter with Frida allowed access to the patient. After a thorough examination, it was established that surgery not only improved her quality of life, but also extended her life expectancy from a few months to several years. Anna-Maria Grimm is overjoyed about her encounter with Frida. "It took me only 80 years to experience something like that." Today she is very happy to have accepted the advice of the doctors for an operation.
About the Sana Klinikum Hof
The Sana Klinikum Hof, with its 465 inpatient beds and 22 day-care places, is one of the largest somatic acute care hospitals in Bavaria. In more than fifteen specialized departments the private hospital treats annually approximately 24,000 stationary and 45,000 ambulatory patients.
31 January
UEHP General Assembly
4 February
EU Health Coalition - Towards outcomes-based healthcare
4 February
EU Parliament - Europe's Beating Cancer Plan
27-28 February
Montreux (Switzerland)
Global Ministerial Summit on Patient Safery